Step inside Stall 570 at Nairobi’s Kenyatta Market, where Jimmy Rugami trades in a peerless collection of East African vinyl.
Whether they hail from Japan or Peru or right around the corner, dedicated record diggers have long known just where to head when they’re in Nairobi: Stall 570 in Kenyatta Market, better known as Jimmy’s. Owner Jimmy Rugami firmly believes that vinyl is the form in which recorded music is meant to be played, and he treats his shop as a temple to vintage African pressings from Congo, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and, of course, Kenya. (He says he doesn’t yet carry any Ethiopian records, but he’s making a trip there soon.) Jimmy does his part toward keeping vinyl alive in Africa, with the hope that younger listeners will catch the same bug that he did. Here Jimmy goes deep on his passion by discussing some records that feel especially key to the shop, from the sort of low-key, bluesy sounds he might put on when he first arrives at the market to party-starters like Manu Dibango’s classic “Soul Makossa.”